AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

UNIwise Uses AWS to Administer Digital Exams Across Europe

Exams can be stressful for students, but the performance of their testing platform should not be a concern. Students expect the same level of tech they are used to in their daily lives, so universities are striving to keep pace.

In 2010, the founders of UNIwise, who at the time were working at Aarhus University in Denmark, identified a student desire to bring and use their own computers for exams. At that time, no technology was available that would prevent cheating and plagiarism during digital exams.

Aarhus University therefore applied and received funding from the Danish Government to investigate digitizing exams and assessments, and after two years of development, WISEflow was born. Following a successful digital transformation of the exam and assessment process, the project leaders decided to buy the commercial rights to WISEflow to offer the exam solution to other educational institutions, and in 2012, UNIwise was launched as an independent company.

WISEflow encompasses the entire exam and assessment process from end to end. It enables you to set up exam flows and create interactive tests, and it also makes automated distribution and easy assessment possible, providing you with the digital exam that suits your needs. Currently, WISEflow is used by 70 universities across Europe including the Danish School of Media and Journalism and the Brunel University London. In a single year, 1.3 million exams were administered with 3.5 million sessions and 13 million page views.

In order to get to this current state to scale with the peaks of exams, they turned to the AWS Cloud. Since exams traditionally start at 9 AM and end at 12 PM, the team needed performance, scalability, and security, but did not want to waste resources during the “off periods.”

Back in 2012, they began their cloud journey with AWS with incremental steps moving away from their on-premises infrastructure. UNIwise is now all-in on AWS, using core services like Amazon S3 for storage, Amazon EC2 for compute, DynamoDB for databases, and SQS for messaging.

 “Since moving to the AWS Cloud, we have had virtually zero downtime,” said Mads Stenhøj Andresen, Chief Product Architect at UNIwise. “Customers experience improved performance and reliability. Our IT teams still have control over the platform and we have better security than our on-premises datacenter. In general, the options are vast with AWS, which is very different than on servers. It is easy to achieve even the craziest ideas for exams.”

Learn more about AWS for education here.